Tagged in: YWAM

YWAM and “Friend Raising”

I was part of YWAM or Youth With A Mission in Kansas City as well as Kona (where they are globally based) and I found the teaching on Friend Raising to have a hidden secret that no one tells people.

I am in no way mad or angry at YWAM, I am just saying wanting to tell people who might think about joining the mission group what they might be looking at. Friend Raising is a great concept on paper.


The ideal behind it is that missionaries are funded by friends not groups. It seeks to put a personal and human touch on missionary support. It is needed and critical for a young missionary to understand this. Raising support is next to impossible without having those personal connections with people back in your hometown and across America.

To be clear, I believe the book Friend Raising that YWAM Publishing put out is amazing and it is a textbook for anyone trying to become a missionary, especially without a missions group with deep pockets like the Assemblies of God or the Southern Baptist Convention.

If you do not have the book, I do recommend getting a copy of it.

My issue with Friend Raising

If you are Loren Cunningham, John Dawson, Floyd McClung or another global leader, you have a platform to raise support than many do not. It is a no brainer to say that Loren Cunningham is going to be able to raise money for his needs a lot easier than some guy in the Discipleship Training School at some base in Kenya.

This is what they do not tell you when they talk about friend raising in YWAM. A lot of people think they should have these amazing stories of provision as well. They feel like failures because they do not see the checks roll in like the speakers told them they did for him.


The reason for this is because of the platform. A major leader has the capacity to raise support that is not a reality for most YWAM missionaries. Your run of the mill staff member is not getting calls to speak at missions conferences around the world.

The reason that this must be addressed is that when people realize that capacity and platform are factors in your friend raising, the guilt and shame of not having great stories of provision is removed from your heart. Having this knowledge will set your heart free from the spirit of failure. God does not bless Loren Cunningham more than you. He just has the microphone and you do not. That’s all.

I raise this issue because I see so many people leave YWAM thinking they are failure but no one told them that they have an uphill battle to get the capacity to raise large amounts of support. A girl from a village in Africa is not going to have the family and friends to raise $2,000 a month. She just won’t so she never tries to be a missionary as a result.

I still believe in friend raising!

I believe that our old church driven model of support raising is dead. It is completely lacking any type of productivity for the long term missionary. Missionaries under the old system of support raising, missionary work, furlough, missionary work, support raising and repeat is harming the missions movement. Many of my friends spend more time speaking in churches about missions than they do actually being missionaries. 

The best way to fund missionary work is friend raising but there needs to be some honesty about the how it works. It is not as cookie cutter as some people make it out to be.


The truth of the matter is most missionaries remain under funded for many years and it take a long time to build the friend raising support base to do what you feel called to do the night you answered the call to preach the gospel in some village in the jungle of Africa.

It works. There is no debating that we need to remove the guilt that comes with it so people can understand the grace of fund raising using human contacts, not mission committee that are all business. People helping people is this missionary model of Jesus (Luke 8:2).

Many missionaries will never have the funding they need right away. I know many that started on the mission field with $200 a month in support. It was not under many years later that they had the $2,000 that they really needed. It was a lot of ramen noodles for them in the early years.

Does Facebook change the process?

It does not really change it but it does put it on steroids to a degree. I am able to communicate with people that I know at a rate that people a generation ago could only dream of. In that regard, it does change the way we do friend raising but it did not change the concept of doing it. Personal contact is critical. Facebook just makes it more often.

Here is a few tips I have learned along the way about Facebook and Friend Raising

  1. Update your status about missionary work daily. People are really “out of sight, out of mind.”
  2. Tell stories, stories and more stories. People move testimonies. They really do.
  3. Pictures, pictures, pictures. People connect with images more than text. Studies show this.
  4. Be careful doing teaching on Facebook. You don’t want to say something wrong to someone.

The best thing for a missionary to do is update his/her Facebook status about what is happening on the mission field at least a few times a day. People need to hear about the mission often or they forget you are living in Sri Lanka.


Tell stories and testimonies about how people have come to Christ or received a miracle in your daily life. This really remind people about the calling on your life as a missionary.

I found that the greatest impact on Facebook seems to be pictures. This is an easy one for me as I am a photographer but people react to pictures for some reason. Oddly, pictures are more effective than even videos. However, starting a daily vlog on Youtube could be very effective.

My last bit of advice is be careful posting deep theological stuff on Facebook that might get people calling you a heretic. I will admit that I do not follow this advice myself but I am kinda safe. I did spend seven years in theological training. Most young missionaries would be best to not try and be the next Stanley Horton.

I hope this helps people in their journey into friend raising!


True Discipleship is not happening today.

Many do not understand the Great Commission and this is partly due to the fact that Matthew recorded a very different version of it than Mark, Luke and John. I am not saying that Matthew was wrong (after all, it did make the Cannon), I am saying his point of view is different with that whole discipleship thing.

What do I mean by that? If you read Matthew 28:19 besides Mark 16:15-20 or Luke 1:7-8, you will see that there is something very different. Mark and Luke put emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit to heal the sick and set the captive free as proof of the gospel. Matthew did not speak of miracles but what we call discipleship.

In my spiritual heritage, the emphasis has always been that miracles confirms the gospel. After all, Mark did say, “…the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” The stories of John G. Lake, Smith Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple McPherson, Oral Roberts, and John Wimber were common around the table.

We always knew that Matthew 28:19 was there but we kinda just left that to the Baptists who did not believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They could nothing but discipleship. After all, they didn’t believe in healing the sick and raising the dead. Harsh as it sounds, it is how much of the Pentecostal movement sees this passage in light of the difference between Matthew and the rest of the passages.


Discipleship is best done by fathers

I remember hearing a man from New Zealand speak when I was in a meeting during the Toronto Blessing. His name was James Jordan and he spoke of the Fathering nature of the gospel. He kept talking about 1 Corinthians 4:15. It is a passage that really messes up our whole idea of what discipleship really is.

Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

The maturity of the believer should be done by fathers, not teachers. This changes everything. Most churches are trying to discipline by teaching but are they raising up spiritual sons and daughters. If a church claims to be a “family” and they are serious about mentoring the young believers as spiritual children; something is wrong.

The problem we have is when we do not focus of spiritual fathers and mothers, we reduce the idea of discipleship to a mere academia practice that is just like learning biology or chemistry. It is about learning information and the application of it for a designed purpose. It makes the whole experience one of education, not spirituality.

Discipleship is not something that can be done in Sunday School and it can not be done in our cell groups (that we ripped off from South Korea). It happens when people have the Elijah and Elisha relationship. Paul had a spiritual fathering role to Timothy. That is how it works best. One on one around the barbeque pit; not from the pulpit.


Discipleship as we know is brainwashing

I have long believed there was a fine line between the two. I went to what YWAM calls a “Discipleship Training School.” It is a course that is several months long that is focused on the fundamentals of the faith. The problem is it is based on information and not impartation. It is mostly teaching and required reading. This borderlines brainwashing. It is not just YWAM doing it, either. Almost every major mission group has the same unbibical concept.

When I went to bible college, I expected to have an educational experience. When I went to seminary, I am paying for the educational experience. When I am do discipleship, I expect to be more about mentorship than I do education. This is the problem with the model we have in most churches.

The Bible declares that God will turn the hearts of the Fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. I am not sure how we think this will work when we are more focused on developing students than spiritual children in our churches. The reality is a pastor can not father a church from the pulpit; he can only present information and release impartation.

Churches that focus on training them with information are like a man that goes around town, getting women pregnant but then leaving town without being a parent to the child. We just end up with a generation that is very educated in the scriptures but have no fathers to guide them in spiritual things.


Raising up spiritual sons

I was saved in the Brownsville Revival. The main speaking in the meetings was Evangelist Steve Hill. He was mentored by Leonard Ravenhill. It was from that relationship that Steve became the man that could lead the greatest revival in American history. It was not going through school and getting information. It was that mentoring relationship that made the difference.

People wanted to share in Ravenhill’s mantle and carry his mandate to the Bride of Christ but they did not want to share in his sackcloth and ashes. They want to stand with him in the pulpit but they did not want to weep with him in the prayer room. Sons and daughters are those who also share the sackcloth and ashes with their spiritual fathers and mothers.

It was because of those times in prayer and mentorship that the Brownsville Revival broke out on Father’s Day 1995. It was an outpouring of everything that Steve Hill received from his spiritual father, Leonard Ravenhill. That is how true discipleship works.

I look back at the several things that I know that I am anointed to do and I received what I have from men that operated in that mentored me, not just reading books and watching videos. It is true that anointing can only be caught but not taught.

God opened the door for me to be mentored by the pastors that had the fastest growing church in America back in 1999-2001. It was a mentoring experience to be there and to be close to the leadership. It was about being a spiritual son. Due to that relationship, I learned the practicals of planting a mega-church in one of the most saturated markets for faith in the United States.

Discipleship is about spiritual sons and daughters. That’s all I am saying.


Floyd McClung is a missional hero!

When I was on staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, I use to still attend Metro Christian Fellowship when it was pastored by Floyd McClung. He was a great leader that put the emphasis on emotional healing and living in community. I was not much into community then (still am not) but Floyd was what Metro needed after 20 years of non-stop praying and prophetic meetings. Continue reading…

Loren Cunningham is critical to revival!

I would hope that most people know who Loren Cunningham is but if you do not know, he is the founder and key leader of YWAM (Youth With A Mission). He is probably the strongest link to revival today and has the ability to take revival to the nations more than anyone.

YWAM has around 14,000 staff is about every nation. A move of the Spirit could spread to the ends of the earth in no time through their mission bases. A few staff could go to a meetings in Nashville with a revivalist and within days, it could spread to Hawaii, Hong Kong, and even North Korea. Continue reading…

Missionaries are humans too :)

While many love to carry the title missionary around, I do not. The reason is missionaries is not a biblical office. I also believe we have a theological issue when we consider people missionaries. It is something deep in our culture, especially in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.

Normally, a young person gets radically saved and delivered. They want to see everyone born again and the power of God hit them. They are more excited about the gospel then the pastor is. The pastor does not know how to deal with this so he tells the young person to go to some distant nation as a missionary.




The young person will get a little training from a place like YWAM or Victory Bible College in Tulsa and off then go, with a bible in hand and a testimony burning in their heart. All they know is Jesus saves, heals, delivers and fills. The good thing is they know the simplicity of the Cross. They have the basics right.

The problem is the pastor sees sending someone that makes him uncomfortable into a spiritual warzone full of all types of devil as “getting rid” of believers who make him look less spiritual.



Missionary thinking is unbiblical

There is Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, and Teachers but where is the missionary? It is not listed anywhere because the office of the missionary is not for leadership but it is for all believers. Every Christian is a missionary. If you do not believe that, you have a theological problem.

The idea that people are “called” to go to some tribe in Africa and you are not is heretical at best. We are called to preach the gospel with signs and wonders following. Every single one of us.




Keith Green, the late prophetic psalmist, had it right when he asked, “The question is not if you are called to go. The question is are you called to stay?” The truth is many have no desire to embrace the gospel in a different cultural context than what they grew up in.

The issue here we like to check out of doing the gospel because we think by sending a little money to someone in Africa, we are off the hook. This is completely unbiblical. Everyone is called to be a missionary and everyone should do at least one mission trip in their life.




When we start to see everyone as the missionary, we are partaker of the gospel. We share in the grace of our fellow believers in Mongolia and we share in the suffering of our fellow Christians in Brazil. It is truly about being the Bride of Christ; one global Church.

While we have the “here is some money, go for me and don’t come back” mentality of the missionary, we will never step into the calling of Christ for the souls of humanity. We have to admit that alot of our thinking about world missions is just backwards.




The sooner we repent of this ungodly belief, the better we will be spiritually.

Why I do not call myself a missionary

Part of the reason is biblical and part of it is that I find the term just cheesy. It would be like calling someone Trashman Tom or Secretary Julie. A missionary is what I do but it is not who I am. I am me. I do not find my identity is what I do but I find it in Christ Jesus.

When I sit next to a street kid in the Philippines, I am there because I care; not because it is my “job.” When it becomes a job, the whole thing is messed up. I am just being a employee to some church at that point. It is not not about the heart; it is about duty. I do not want to love out of duty but desire.



Another reason that this is important is when someone attacks the work (and they will), I do not take it personal. It is what I do but not who I am. I know what God says over me and how He sees me. The attacks are real but they are not as real as the love of God singing over me. I know the His banner over me is love (Song of Songs 2:4) and that God has raised a standard against the attack to protect me. (Is. 59:19) I also know I have a hedge of protection surrounding me. (Job 1:10)

Dealing with haters

Alot of people attack people and do not realize those who are loving people in the Philippines or Africa are just as human as those loving people in Dallas or Kansas City. I have been the center of attackers of the haters more times that I can remember but people forget that I am a human as well. A missionary might live somewhere else but the call is the same: love God and to love sinners. Only the location is different.



In many ways those who are “haters” are just upset at the truth that you carry, they do not like you raining on their sin party, or they are reminded of a call of God on their lives. For whatever reason, the heart of God is not revealed by their words of the haters.

That means that either the source of their words is either from the flesh and their own rebellion or it is from the evil one. Some of the words that I hear thrown at me daily by people are simply attacks of the devil using carnal men who have lost all connection with the Holy Spirit. If I believed the words they spoke over me, I would be suicidal.

The good news I do not believe the report of the evil one. I choose to pick up my sword in one hand and my plowshare in the other. It is harvest time for the nations. We have the great end time revival in front of us. It is revival time!




University of the Nations is not Accredited

In the final installment of our articles on YWAM, we are looking at the school attached to it: University of the Nations. The school is the cashcow of the mission group. Youth With A Mission would struggle financially without it. It might be a harsh reality but still, it is the reality.

In my mind, these schools are basically internship but the problem is they are billed that way to the people and they are not treated that way as far as finances goes. The students are paying for an education that they are not really getting. That becomes a problem.  The same issue remains with IHOP University at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. In my mind, it is about transparency.




I understand the reason that many want to go to University of the Nations. Who would not want to go to school in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. I am sure many people would love to live on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is appealing to say the least.

However, from purely an educational point of view, things are just what they seem to be when it comes to the school and many like it.



University of the Nations is not Accredited

This is the biggest issue and this is something that people need to seriously consider before making the decision to go to the school. I did not go to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry because of it. Oral Roberts University would not honor it as really going to school at the time.

University of the Nations is not accredited by any recognized accreditation body. As such, its degrees and credits may not be acceptable to employers or other institutions, and use of degree titles may be restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions. (Wikipedia)

According to the Department of Education,  “in some states, it can be illegal to use a degree from an institution that is not accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency, unless approved by the state licensing agency.”



What this means is your Masters Degree from your time in Kona would mean nothing professionally and might even be illegal to actual use it for any purpose whatsoever. You might not even be able to put it on your resume.

It wouldn’t matter if you just want to take a few years and study at a school somewhere but most people that are in their 20’s can’t do that. They need to have something that is useful, especially if not ministry related.

University of the Nations uses the fact that they are in several nations as an excuse for it but I just am not buying it. There are many schools that operate internationally. Each campus is a school technically and the networks of schools would be the University of the Nations. The campus in Kona should be accredited by the State of Hawaii. Simple as that.



It only hurts the students in the end that is not. The school still gets all their money from the kids but the kids do not get a usable degree. How that is that fair?

University of the Nations knows the problem

They know it exist but are doing nothing about it,

THE UNIVERSITY OF THE NATIONS IS NOT ACCREDITED BY AN ACCREDITING AGENCY RECOGNIZED BY THE UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION.  Admission to the University of the Nations (U of N) and any of its sponsored programs is open to qualified individuals regardless of race, color, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, and educationally unrelated handicaps. U of N reserves the right to change schedules and course offerings as deemed necessary.

Note: In the United States, many licensing authorities require accredited degrees as the basis for eligibility for licensing. In some cases, accredited colleges may not accept for transfer courses and degrees completed at unaccredited colleges, and some employers may require an accredited degree as a basis for eligibility for employment.




Doing a mission trip with YWAM?

I use to be part of YWAM and I still love them but if you are thinking of doing a mission trip with them, you might want to know some things. While they do some amazing things around the world, they have become very dailed down in some core expression of the Kingdom. Depending what tradition of the faith you come from, this could become an issue.

Loren Cunningham, the founder of Youth With A Mission, is the son of an Assemblies of God pastor. In fact, many believe that YWAM was designed to be part of the AG movement from the start but it couldn’t work for political reasons inside the movement. This is important to know because people use this to think that YWAM is Pentecostal friendly.




This is not the case anymore.

In a quest to open the doors to other traditions, Methodist, Baptists and even Catholics; the emphasis on the Holy Spirit has been dailed way down so people will not get scared from casting out devils or healing the sick. Really a sad reality but it is what I saw in many of the bases that I visited when I was part of YWAM.




Mission trips with YWAM are not miracle crusades

This is important because in the Pentecostal tradition, when we go to a nation; we plan to see the blind see and the deaf hear. Miracles, signs and wonders are what we are in faith for and it is the only thing that we will be happy seeing. We want to see people come out of wheelchairs and having someone popup out of the casket would be amazing.

The problem with that is most people in YWAM are not even sure if they believe that miracles happen today. Many tend to align themselves closer to the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church than they do the General Council of the Assemblies of God and the General Assembly of the Church of God.




In my experience, the number of Pentecostals and Spirit-Filled Charismatics in the ranks of the mission group is now a minority. If anything, we are struggling for a voice than being the main expression that started Youth With A Mission.

I remember being on a mission trip in Los Angeles and there was a man that was having alot of problems. The YWAM trip was praying for him to have “peace.” The problem is you can’t have peace when you are tormented with a devil. I pushed my way to the front and told him, “You have a devil on you. Do you want me to cast him off you or do you enjoy your devil?” Twenty minutes later, he was delivered and the whole YWAM group was offended. They didn’t really believe in casting out demons.




Am I telling you that you shouldn’t go on a mission trip with YWAM? Not at all. I am just telling you that if you come from a Pentecostal tradition, you might be surprised how little of Pentecost is left in the movement these days.

YWAM is a tribe

What I mean by that is there will be major pressure put on you to do a Discipleship Training School if you have not done one yet. There will be pressure for some school as that is how Youth With A Mission pays the bills. Personally, I only did a DTS as I was taking classes at Oral Roberts online. I found that to be a much smarter choice for me at the time.

You will find the pressure to join YWAM as a missionary, do schools and if not, support the mission base financially to be pretty intense. I am not saying you shouldn’t do any of them; I am just saying the tension with be very much real.




Even though I was part of the YWAM movement, I can’t say I ever really believed in it wholeheartly. I was always a classic Pentecostal with some faith movement leaning and was in the middle of the prophetic movement. It was me and I know it. I was a square in a round hole when I was working with YWAM. I didn’t buy into the vision completely. I believe that was for good reason as I look back.

While they might not be a denomination in the purist sense but have many of the same thinking patterns as those who are in one. I find that YWAMers can easily get an elitist spirit and I do not think it is productive.




Do your mission trip with your eyes open

I am not telling you that you should not do a trip with them. Far from it. I am saying that you should do it with your eyes wide open and your ear open to only the Holy Spirit. Knowing the facts is more important than anything. If you know the political spirit and the controlling spirit is there beforehand, you are better prepared when you see it. That’s all I am saying.

I am very thankful for the time that I spend with YWAM and I still work with them. However, I know what is happening in the ranks and I am not smiling about it at all.




Personally, I would suggest doing a mission trip with Global Awakening or Bethel Missions for the reasons I laid out. However, working with YWAM is not a bad option.

I hope I did not make you think they are bad people or a “cult.” I do not believe that. I just believe there is some serious problems inside the movement that need to be dealt with but won’t. These same issues were there back in the 1970’s and have always grew from then. I do not expect them to be fixed in my lifetime.




Why I left YWAM (but I still love them)

A question that I get alot is why I left YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and why I am not working with them currently. I still love Jesus. I still love missions. I still love evangelism. I do not tie my passion for the harvest to YWAM. That is part of the problem, actually.

Too many people get tied up in what “group” they are part of and have more loyalty to it than they do to Christ. When you find your identity in being a YWAMer, Assemblies of God, Church of God or Baptist; you have believed the lie and become part of the evil we know in the western church. It is lie that tells us to rally to men and not the Holy Spirit. The “being planted” deception is run deep in American Christianity.




YWAM is great and I love the heart of Loren Cunningham. However, I believe that Loren does not know, or does not really think it is that serious, how bad some things have become on mission bases in America and parts of Asia Pacific. I can not speak for bases that are in places that I have not visited.

The issues that I see is organizational, theological, and missiology.




YWAM has witchcraft at work

I know some will disagree with using the term but I believe anytime that you use faith as a form of control; that is spiritual witchcraft. Jesus came to set people free; not to bind them as slaves to groups and leaders in the name of “christian service.” Any time that a person feels a need to serve, they have lost their passion to live like the Freedom giver, Jesus Christ.

The pressures placed on young people to serve is unrealistic and it has a major problem: YWAM didn’t start that way. If there is one thing that Loren Cunningham is known for, it would be writing Is that really you, God? The core of YWAM is hearing from the Holy Spirit; not blind obedience to a leader. What ends up happening is YWAM mission bases become little more than mini-kingdoms build by smart men; not the hands of the Holy Spirit.




I was raised to put complete confidence in only hearing from the Holy Spirit for myself. If a leader asked me to do something because it would help grow the YWAM base; the answer is simply no. If I haven’t heard from the Holy Spirit, I do not care what some leader wants. I am not going to do under any condition. I am about being the Kingdom of God. I am interested in building YWAM. Sorry.

The constant pressure to put the organization over the leading of the Holy Spirit is the biggest reason that I left YWAM and will not be part of the movement until something radically changes. It is sad but I really do not think it will change in my lifetime, either.

The spiritual witchcraft is very deep and it runs across the network of mission bases in alot more ways that people realize.




What about Moral Government?

The term Moral Government of God is actually known as Open Theism. As much as I hate radical Calvinism; I also am sickened by radical Arminianism and that is what Open Thiesm is.

For those who do not know what Open Theism is and why it is so dangerous; it is basically a belief that God does not know the future but can only “guess” based on historical trend. Prophetic ministry is just divine guessing. I completely and wholeheartly reject it as outright heresy for many reasons.




To be fair, many within YWAM even strongly question this teaching as well as Kingdom Now theology. I know one leader who was ready to leave YWAM and take his base with him. It is mainly alive in the mission bases in North America from what I understand.

I am as strong of a Arminianist as you find but God is very much a prophetic God and He knows what the score is. Revelation is not a guess but it is a book about the prophetic vision of the people of God.

The reality is we are not God’s plan; we are part of God’s plan. The mission of God is use us but the emphasis must be on the central point of the gospel: the savior Jesus Christ. When we think we are the hero of the story; we have lost the whole point.

I am open to differences in thought about theological stuff. I am Pentecostal and I have Baptist friends.




DTS is bad missiology

If you are not part of YWAM or know much about them, they really believe in what is called Discipleship Training School. If you believe that Matthew 28:19 should take importance over the five other Great Commission passages; you still have a problem. Discipleship should be done in the context of the church. YWAM is a not a church but a missionary group.

The problem become when people replace the great commission with DTS. Many YWAM make doing a DTS, a money maker for YWAM, into the gospel. It is sad but when the emphasis is on a program and not the blood of Jesus; that is idolatry. It is simple as that.

I could never bring myself to promote the program when I was with YWAM. Most people do not need to do a DTS; it is not a replacement to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. What people need is a Acts 2 Pentecostal experience more than some programs full of men teaching people what they think God said about Himself. The Holy Spirit alone will form young believers into mighty men and women!




I still love YWAM!

I left on good terms (for the most part). I still have many friends in YWAM and have worked with them in crusades in Africa as well as spoke in their school of missions before. I am against them but these issues are too big for me to sign on the dotted line and say I am with committed to Youth With A Mission.

In the end, we make better friends than family.